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Bush Congratulates New Chinese Leader

The Bush administration has congratulated Hu Jintao on his promotion to general-secretary of China's ruling Communist Party. Mr. Hu's selection puts him in line for the Chinese presidency next year.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the Bush administration looks forward to working with China's new leadership team, and will continue to discuss a variety of issues, including human rights, religious freedoms, and trade.

President Bush met with the new general-secretary during his February visit to Beijing, as it was clear then that Mr. Hu would be the country's next leader.

President Bush welcomed the outgoing Chinese leader Jiang Zemin to his Texas ranch last month, where they agreed to pursue a common strategy to force North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program.

As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, China's support was also crucial to this month's unanimous passage of a resolution ordering Iraq to give up weapons of mass destruction.

As part of what Mr. McClellan called the continuing high-level dialogue between Washington and Beijing, Vice-President Dick Cheney will visit China next year.